For Tshenolo Mabeo politics is both a calling to serve the people and a passion.
He is known more as a small screen actor than a politician, his rise to fame coming when he played a leading role in the controversial ‘Thokolosi’ drama.
Now that he has joined active politics and trounced Dr. John Seakgosing in the BDP primary elections, Mabeo speaks for the first time about his road map.
Q: May you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Tshenolo Mabeo. I was born 45 years ago. I am a married man.
Q: When did you join politics?
I have long been a member of the ruling party since my youth days. I became very active in politics in 2005. I have always wanted to represent my constituency at parliament level.
Q: BDP is your party of choice right?
I have never joined any political party except BDP. I approached the branch committee of the constituency and told them of my desire to help bring better developments to my people.
Q: Why didn’t you start at the council level?
I could have served the people at the lower level but I think the calling is to serve at a high level. The people wanted me to be at the forefront.
Q: So you want to start at the top?
I am a grassroots person, I mingle with all and sundry in the constituency. I will never lose touch with grassroots people.
The trick is to humble yourself before the people. Never underestimate anyone in politics.
The smallest person can bring you down.
Q: After dethroning area MP and Minister of Health Dr. John Seakgosing what came to your mind?
When Gladys Kokorwe left politics in 2008 I and Dr. Seakgosing contested for the constituency. He won by a margin of about 100 people. I didn’t make noise but worked hard on the ground. We are not enemies we talk from time to time. We even call each other because it is not about me or him it is about the interest of the people.
Q: What do you have for the people of Thamaga-Kumakwane?
The whole constituency has no infrastructure. You talk about roads especially in Kubung they are in a pathetic state. The road between Thamaga and Kumakwane is badly designed as it attracts accidents. I am a civil structural engineer and I get hurt when I see structures which are badly designed and constructed. My take is that a bypass road should be devised by Ditlhakane and on the main road there should be humps.
Q: Is that all?
Ramaphathe is now a village not a settlement, this means Thamaga should now be turned into a sub-district. Our hospital is in a pathetic state, our patients bath with cold water there is also sewerage discharge which is affecting the health of the people; even domestic animals are drinking that water.
Q: What kind of investment is there in your constituency from the private sector?
Private investments in Thamaga are very slow. My task will be to lure large companies to invest in this village and others that form the constituency. Can you imagine we don’t even have a bank in our constituency?
Q: What are the people telling you?
There is an outcry about water in the whole constituency. We are told by the government that the area has overgrown the population hence there is no connection of water in some areas. This is something I think we should have seen before the problem escalated.
Q: You seem to be concerned about infrastructural developments what about human development?
Any politician will advocate for things he understands better or has a background on. Look at our area it had internal roads in the last three years.
Q: Should you win what would be your priorities?
In the first five years one should set out their priorities correctly. MP’s must have a clear road map that is what I will do.
Q: What about the people?
I am going to teach people to be self-reliant I want people to work for themselves and I will equip them with skills that can benefit them. As an MP I would like the youth to be able to have something to do all the time.
Q: How are you going to help the youth?
My aim is to exploit primary school kids by roping them into sporting activities at a young age. I have already donated a plasma screen to Ramaphathe Primary School so that they can watch sport on TV and know about international stars.
Q: What inspired you to enter politics?
I have a passion to lead and serve disadvantaged people. My late father inspired me to work tirelessly to help people who are less fortunate. During my spare time I like mixing with ordinary people. Politics is like somebody doing a research, I am also learning.
Q: What do you hope to benefit as an individual from politics?
At the end I want to be satisfied with my life that I am serving the people.
Q: Do people expect miracles from you?
People expect a lot from politicians. These things range from money to certain donations which unfortunately we don’t have as we are just like them. The perception is that when you get into politics you somehow become wealthy. When they don’t get anything from you they start talking badly about you.
Q: What is your take on elders who retire into politics?
I am of the view that politics needs somebody young who can be able to listen to people without fatigue. Pensioners should be allowed to rest or give advice to young politicians.
Q: There is a lot of negative feeling towards President Ian Khama within the BDP why?
Anybody can be either liked or not liked. As for president Khama I think he has done a good job for this country. That is my opinion anyway. In a democracy you cannot agree with everybody but he is our leader we should respect him and his office.
Q: What has he done for this country?
There are a lot of people who were not working in this country. He has created relief measures for them to work. Projects like Ipelegeng can attest to that. You may ask what P500 is but that is something to somebody out there.
Q: The same president has reduced the hours for consuming alcohol, are you happy with that?
Look, I can’t say I am happy or not. What I know is that there are people out there who drink responsibly and those who drink irresponsibly. Leading a country is not a joke or an easy thing. There are a lot of expectations from your people and some that you can’t meet.
Q: Should Botswana legalise gay marriages?
I haven’t investigated this issue so I won’t be giving you an honest opinion. My take is that everybody must be given an audience.
Q: What about a gay President would you mind to be led by one?
This is a tough one. Does it matter anyway? The issue of gays I haven’t looked into as I said before. In a society there are different kinds of people and I am not the one to discriminate against them. Personally I have no problem with gays whatsoever.
Thank you and stay blessed.